Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Creative Writing - Maddie

So a bit ago I posted about Izzie's progress in creative writing so far since we started in about May of this year. Today, I'm sharing some of Maddie's work. 

 For the first assignment they had to find an object in the room and use 5 words to describe it. Maddie picked a toy cell phone and wrote: Cold, Smooth, Bumpy, Metal and Pushy (the buttons could be pushed in.)

 On this assignment she drew a picture of a girl and was told to write some words describing what she was doing, thinking or feeling. Happy, Ice Cream Store, Home and Nap. She verbally told me a story about a girl who was happy eating ice cream at the store but then she went home and took a nap because the ice cream made her sleepy. I remember Maddie really was resisting writing at this assignment, but then something must have clicked. Because she started writing "chapter" books outside of our Creative Writing classtime. Everytime you'd go to look for her she was off writing on some scrap of paper. It really shows, because the next lesson she wrote a lot!

 The cute bunny going to a playdate. Her friends are named Daffodil, Green Grass, Treelimb, Moss, Natalie, Chloe, Taylor, Flower Valley. The End. Of course her story was much more involved than this, but after writing all those names, which she came up with by herself (Natalie, Chloe and Taylor being some friends of ours though) she got tired of writing so it was The End.

 This assignment really tickled me because she got really involved in the drawing. She created a factory and got very descriptive verbally on how the levers and buttons worked to make everything in the factory work. She wrote: There were two brothers who owned a factory. Their names were Klap and Snap. The End. Again, I love the names she came up with!

Keeping with a Halloween theme this week, I asked her to write a story about a dog that gets to dress up for Halloween. She wrote:
The Witch Dog
The witch dog made lots of potions. She poured them on trees.

She told me it was an evil witch dog and the potion was bad and killed all the trees. The light blue circles in the sky is rain.

The Grotto in Portland, OR

 So backing up a bit to back in mid September when Jackie and Tom were visiting, another place we went to was The Grotto. It's a Catholic place for mediation, prayer and church services, all outdoors. The place was incredibly beautiful. There was a path that had the Stations of the Cross, and statues of religious icons throughout the gardens. You can pay to go up a really tall elevator that leads to even more gardens and on a clear day, incredible views of the mountains. We were there on a very cloudy/foggy day, but it was still beautiful. Here is Maddie and Izzie posing for me.

 The view from way up high. Suppsidly on clear days you can see mountain peaks.

 There was a very modern looking chapel. We walked in and there were a couple of lounge chairs with people sitting in them reflecting and gazing out this incredible window. We were very quiet inside.

 I couldn't resist taking one photo though. I muted my phone and turned off the flash so as not to disturb anyone. It was much prettier than the photo shows!

Heading back out to the car the girls saw tree stumps. They cannot resist climbing on stumps!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Creative Writing - Izzie

I'm going to interrupt my slow catching up (I've got a TON of photos to post...) but I wanted to share Izzie's Creative Writing Assignment today. We started the Connect the Thoughts Creative Writing back in May. We pull it out once or twice a week to do one of the assignments. It is structured for pre-readers who are just starting to write. The focus is usually on the drawing so that the kid gets their creative juices going with their drawing then they are asked to sound out (not spell) 5 words to describe their drawing. Very quickly the girls wanted to write sentences and stories, going beyond what the assignment asked. At first they'd do the five words and then I'd help them write sentences. Now they write their own short sentences.

This was Izzie's assignment at the end of May. She had to find an object in the room and draw it and describe it. She found a big (palm of your hand) sized eraser. Her words were: cold, smooth, rolly, oily and heavy.

A month later she wrote a few describing phrases, which I rewrote below so that we could look at the correct spellings (completely complimenting her on sounding out her own words.) Then she asked me to put them in a story at the top. The drawing of a girl is on the previous page. (She looks happy, Ice Cream Store, She is going to the ice cream store.) Story: Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to go to the ice cream store for her birthday. The End.

A few months later she wrote this story about a cat, using our cat Jake as inspiration.
The Story of Jake. Jake went to lay down. Jake meow. Jake found his milk. He drank and drank.

The interesting thing, as she was drawing the picture she was verbalizing a much more detailed story. I think that's why the pictures are so important. Her creative ability is 100x her written ability. But it is good practice to try to merge the two.

The second page, a lesson a few days later, we again used a cat as inspiration but this time, the cat had to be "crazy." Her story as she was drawing was pretty funny indeed! But this is what she wrote:
The crazy kitty went to bed. The crazy kitty woke up and he went away.

You can also see a progression on the handwriting.

Today's story was about a dog. I love how her handwriting is improving. She's working on spaces between her words and writing in a straight line. She flips her g's, h's and mixes up her b's & d's when writing.

The girl who had a dog. The girl who had a dog had a sweet little (dog.) She fed her meat.

Izzie wrote the entire story by herself while I was in the other room. She sounded it all out. I just translated her spelling afterwards.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mini Maker Fair

So the third day that Grandma and Grandpa were here, we were going to go see The Grotto, a Catholic Garden. But that morning it was still very, very foggy. And we read that there was a place at The Grotto that you could see really great mountain views. So we decided to go to OMSI first, another place we wanted to take them. Well, as we pulled up to OMSI we noticed that something was going on in the parking lot. The normal parking lot had been turned into a fair. So we decided to investigate. 

Turned out it was called the Mini Maker Fair and it was AWESOME. Like totally completely AWESOME. I'm so glad we happened upon it, I'm so glad we stopped, I'm so glad we stayed. We didn't make it into OMSI that day, but this was so worth it. We stayed for over three hours and probably could have stayed longer, but we did still want to get The Grotto in on the visit.

 The Maker Fair celebrated things handmade, from historic to futuristic. Here Daddy is helping Izzie shoot a bow and arrow.

 Izzie learning how to spin yarn.

 Maddie taking a turn.

 They set up these awesome awnings? Shade contraptions. They were sculpturistic. Texas needs to learn about these from some of the fairs I've been to there! Even though it looks cloudy, it was actually a pretty bright warm day, these shades helped.

 Grandma, Grandpa, Maddie and Izzie watching a woodworking demonstration. He was using a non-powered saw to make fine cuts in wood.

 Izzie checking out a spinning top made from wood.

 This car was on display. Covered in Yarn. Pretty cool.

 One of the more "futuristic" makes. They got to make a toy with an LED blinky light.

 Balloon powered Lego Racing Cars. Maddie is standing next to her friend Fiona, who we ran into at the fair.

 This robot started following me around. At first I didn't see the guy who was operating it and it was pretty funny!

 Making a community lantern by gluing decorated pieces of tissue paper on a paper lantern.

 I thought Popo would think this copper coffee table was pretty terrific.

These things were pretty cool. Apparently they are for sale on Amazon. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Grandpa and Grandma came to visit!

My new hobby has been something called Zen Tangles. It's very fun and relaxing to do make these complex doodles. Here are a couple of the first ones I've done. 

 Captured a great Maddie pout.

 Our last picture with the Leigh Boys before they moved away.

 Maddie and Izzie waiting at the airport for Grandma and Grandpa to come visit! They came for a visit on September 12th.

 And they are here!

 We took them to see Multnomah Falls. We stopped here along the road at what was supposed to be a great viewing spot. We couldn't believe how foggy it was! You could hardly see 20 feet away. So much for those river views...

 It was pretty cool though, even with the fog.

 Multnomah Falls. John, the girls and I came here in April and the waterfall was a lot bigger after all the winter rains! In September after the summer, it had a lot less water rushing down.

 Dad and John.

Grandpa told the girls he'd get them something at the gift shop. They picked out these cute parasols.